You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rome Film Fest Rebuilds, Adds Focus on China

Topper Marco Mueller adds Chinese pics as well as an industry focus on the Asian country while feeding his passion for preems

Former Venice Film Festival topper Marco Mueller (pictured) has finally gotten the chance to put his stamp on the Rome Film Fest this year. Technically, this is Mueller’s second season atop the metropolitan festival, but last year, forced to pick out a lineup in haste, he insisted on including only world premieres and wound up with a lineup that was out of sync with the tastes of the average Roman filmgoer.

Not surprisingly for a man who speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese, Mueller has China playing a big role in his reimagining of the festival. He nabbed the fest premiere of Tsui Hark’s Chinese 3D megahit “Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon,” which screens out of competition Nov. 16, and will feature Chinese rocker Cui Jian’s directorial debut, “Blue Sky Bones,” set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution, in competition Nov. 13.

Rome and its post-AFM Business Street mart have two days dedicated to China, packed with panels and meetings dedicated to co-productions with Europe and prospects for improved distribution of European movies in Asia.

“Rome is becoming the natural connecting point between the European industry and the BRIC countries,” Mueller boasts. He even has plans to turn Business Street into a bona-fide mart with booths next year, claiming there is a wide range of non English-language product that is not served by AFM.

Still, Mueller calls his tightly spun selection for Rome’s eighth edition “schizophrenic,” in that it’s characterized by the coexistence of many seemingly disparate elements.

The challenge has been to bolster the fest’s role as a place where movies can be launched and also discovered. More than half the films in the 71-pic lineup are world preems. The festival, which runs through Nov. 17, opened Nov. 8 with Giovanni Veronesi’s “The Fifth Wheel,” a big-budget comedy produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia and Fandango.

Festival Highlights


Spike Jonze’s tale of cyberlove, starring Joaquin Phoenix (fest bow: Nov. 12)

“Out of the Furnace”

Scott Cooper’s drama set in a U.S. steel town. (fest bow: Nov. 12)

“Another Me”

Isabel Coixet’s supernatural thriller, from Fox Intl. Prods. (fest bow: Nov. 15)

“Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon”

Chinese helmer Tsui Hark’s 3D hit crime-actioner. (fest bow: Nov. 16)

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content